This Thanksgiving Season, School of Business Students Urge MC Family to Rise Against Hunger
Alumni Hall at Mississippi College will transform into a beehive of activity on Nov. 15, as dozens of staff and students in baseball caps, hair nets, and gloves will busily funnel and package dry goods into bags that will be weighed, sealed, and stacked into boxes, ready for transport to an unknown destination.
“It will look like sheer pandemonium,” said Sara B. Kimmel with a laugh. But the associate professor of business said the apparent chaos surrounding one of the largest service opportunities on the Clinton campus will be highly organized.
MC’s second Rise Against Hunger meal-packaging event, sponsored by the School of Business Service Club, will assemble more than 10,000 meals for people living in food-insecure areas.
Volunteers will gather around each of the five “funnel station” tables. In an assembly line process, one person will drop a vitamin pack into a bag, the next will secure the bag to the funnel, a third person will pour in soybean products, the next person will scoop dried vegetables, and the fifth person will top off the bag with rice – all in measured amounts.
After filling four or five bags, a volunteer will take them to be weighed and sealed. Boxes assembled from flat pallets will then be filled with the bags for transport to those who need the supplies the most.
Kimmel, who is helping Service Club students coordinate the effort, said the production will be impressive to behold.
“It’s fascinating to watch how it works,” she said. “It’s a huge supply chain project that, in addition to being enormously productive, is helping to eradicate hunger. Volunteers get an assignment, have a role, and stick with that role until all the bags have been filled and the boxes have been packed. It takes a lot of concentration, but it goes by quickly once it starts.
“It’s a learning opportunity for anybody interested in how food gets to food-insecure people.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s annual report on the current state of hunger and food insecurity, as many as 828 million people around the world are facing hunger – and the rate is increasing.
Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable. With a goal of mobilizing the necessary resources to end hunger by 2030, Rise Against Hunger serves meals every day around the globe in medical clinics, vocational training programs, elder care facilities, and schools.
Kimmel said the food-packaging event attracts student volunteers who like participating in hands-on mission opportunities.
“We’re the last hands to touch this palette of food until it is opened at its destination by the person who is going to cook the meal,” she said. “A project like this gives you an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ.”
Kaitlyn Williamson, a junior from Hernando pursuing a degree in marketing, said she felt compelled to participate in the activity to demonstrate the importance of service to MC and the community.
“Rise Against Hunger helps with a global problem of hunger,” said Williamson, who serves as president of the School of Business Service Club. “How exciting it is to be a part of that impact!
“I want to serve others my whole life as the Lord calls me to. This is just one small act of faithfulness.”
When not assigned to a specific station, Williamson plans to help with logistics: finding places for people to volunteer, running the sign-in table, and helping the operation run smoothly. She said business students can learn about collaboration by participating in the event.
“Service isn’t something you have to do alone,” she said. “It is something we can do together as a school, community, and body of believers. While we are focusing on this one ministry, I think this will help make our business students aware of opportunities to use their business skills in the context of ministry and nonprofit organizations.
“This is something I am passionate about and hope to share with others as people participate and learn about Rise Against Hunger. It’s a good reminder of how fortunate we are and that we should help others.”
Sofia Melgar, a senior finance major from Guatemala City, Guatemala, serves as vice president of the School of Business Service Club. She had not participated in a Rise Against Hunger event, but the more the learned about the organization, the more enthusiastic she became.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to help in hosting an event that helps nourish lives and empowers communities to stand strong,” Melgar said. “By taking part in the Rise Against Hunger event, School of Business students can learn that their actions on that day will have an impact on hundreds of kinds and people in impoverished areas.
“This is a great learning opportunity to practice teamwork skills, as each of the different packaging stations will depend on one another. I believe this event is a great opportunity for other students and staff at MC to come together as a family to participate in an event targeted at ending global hunger.”
While the School of Business Service Club sponsors the event, Kimmel said all are welcome to participate.
“The focus of the service club is to unify the School of Business around the idea of service to Christ,” she said. “We want this effort to be university-wide – it’s something everybody on campus can participate in and enjoy.”
She said this year’s meal-packaging effort will seek to match the production of the first Rise Against Hunger event at MC, which took place during the week before Spring Break 2020.
“Little did we know that, once we finished packing the boxes and putting them on the truck, it would be the last time many of the volunteers would see each other for the remainder of that semester,” Kimmel said. “After everybody left for Spring Break, the campus closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But we did find out the meals we packed had been received in Haiti, the most impoverished nation in our hemisphere.”
She said scheduling the Rise Against Hunger activity in mid-November helps put the Thanksgiving holiday in perspective for many of the volunteers.
“Thanksgiving is such a big food event, especially here in the South,” she said. “This event gives us an opportunity to be thankful for what we have, especially at a time of crisis in the world. This is an opportunity to do what Christ called us to do.
“It’s impressive and encouraging to know that our students, faculty, and staff will give their time right before Thanksgiving to help others. It speaks to the spirit of this campus.”
Individuals don’t have to register to volunteer – they can show up at the event, ready to serve. Monetary donations are also welcome: $10 provides 30 meals for individuals in food-insecure areas.
For more information or to donate to MC’s efforts to support Rise Against Hunger, click here.